How would you characterize the Febio TV project?
It will be a modern, progressive, full-format television for active people – therefore, mostly for the productive age category (approximately aged 15 - 55).
How many people will participate in broadcasting Febio TV?
We expect our team to comprise fewer than 100 employees but there will be also a large group of independent producers participating in the production of our programs.
How long will your initial broadcasting periods be?
Our initial daily broadcasting period will last 16 hours and when we start covering the entire country, we will broadcast up to 24 hours a day.
What percentages of your own production (new or from archives) and re-broadcast programs do you intend to use?
We expect the following percentages:
What do you plan to broadcast?
Unfortunately, at this point, we may not provide any program information (even with regard to our competition). And you know what? There must a surprise, right? During the month of May we will finish our program broadcasting structure, which will be our very basic guideline for the production and purchase of original and re-broadcast programs. The production and purchase of programs will start in the summer.
How will Febio TV distinguish itself from other commercial televisions?
It will distinguish itself through its overall program focus and key features. I can say that a total majority of our original production will be produced not through our own capacities but via independent producers. We wish to be a Czech full-format smaller station focused on smaller viewer groups. We believe that being small or smaller is not a liability but an advantage and an opportunity. Our goal is to be different from others all the time, always, and in everything … it will very often be little things, details, hopefully not meaningless ones. Being different is the main strategy we use to penetrate the market. We’re building a new station from scratch; therefore, we have a unique opportunity to take adequate care of the three “Es” forming the meaning of effectiveness: Effectiveness, Efficiency and Economy.
Being “different” isn’t quite popular in the Czech Republic. Television genres are very closely affected by the taste of the masses. They focus mainly on a fast profit. How do plan to prosper in this environment?
Through our hard work and great ideas.
MF DNES mentioned in one of its articles on FEBIO TV that you had been considering reality TV – Wife swap – how could a potential viewer believe you that you would have something new for him/her?
When we were considering and discussing that type of program, this reality show was not known in the Czech Republic yet and no other station was interested in it. Of course, at this point, we’re no longer interested in this because we don’t want to broadcast anything that has already been broadcast by other stations and which won’t be completely new or extremely interesting to our viewers. A particular “retro” could easily be an exception, of course …
You’re a creative person with plenty of ideas, which are used frequently and very intelligently by your competition. What would you do differently today?
I probably wouldn’t change anything in the programs already produced by Febio. We always strove very hard to be a step ahead, and we often succeeded. We even found a new look for obsolete formats … We’ll attempt to do the same with FEBIO TV.
Will you base your activities more on personalities or on programs?
What will your news look like? You rejected gutter and entertainment styles… Will you compete with news stations?
We won’t compete with news stations – we’re considering particular forms of cooperation with them. Our news will be decent, serious - gutter elements may become available only in different types of programs. However, we’re a full-format station; therefore, we should be strong in other types of programs, which won’t be offered by news televisions.
Have you already created a news concept and team of news anchors? Can you disclose some names?
Our discussions are currently still in progress and we don’t want to be hasty. We’ll announce the names of the news anchors only a few weeks before we start broadcasting in order to protect them and us from the competition.
Do you regard any of the foreign stations as an example or is there something you might wish to follow?
We will definitely strive to follow our own ideas, to be original. Of course, during the preparation for our project we studied similar small commercial stations both in Europe and in overseas. The group included, for example, French M6, German Pro7, Finnish Nelonen, Swedish TV3, Polish TVN, British Channel 4 and Channel 5, Canadian CityTV in Toronto, American Current TV of Albert Gore...
Will you cooperate with some foreign stations in the technical or personnel area?
We aren’t deal with that option for the time being.
When do you expect to start broadcasting?
We expect to start broadcasting in March 2007.
Can you provide a more precise date for the first broadcast?
We’re considering the first day of spring – Wednesday, March 21.
What do you find important before starting a new station?
I think it’s very important to build a good team and to be sure the investor is able and ready to overcome a particular period of non-success, which may be associated with starting digital television. At this point, it looks like in both areas we’re approaching results, which will exceed even my original expectations.
How long will it take to build your team?
A decision on our station management should basically be made during the month of May. We believe that we will offer a highly exceptional team of professionals. We want all of our managers to be experts and personalities, regardless of their differences. Since we wish to manage a significant part of FEBIO TV’s value chain on a process basis, we won’t create complex departments and hierarchies. The top management will strive to create a good working environment. We’re a small television station and that’s why we’re even more aware of the fact that prosperity starts with people who feel comfortable.
The media reported that you were considering a joint offer for advertising times. Have you met with representatives of Z1 and Óčko?
We’ve been in contact with the representatives of the specified stations since the beginning of the digital license tender, but we haven’t discussed joint offers of advertising times with anyone for the time being.
You are well known for your documentaries. I assume Febio TV will broadcast them as well, right?
Right, Febio TV will broadcast both documentaries and current affairs programs and our viewers will definitely see even programs made by Febio in the past.
How do you intend to finance your project?
The investment manager and first financial investor is Arca Capital Bohemia, Inc.
How much does a station like this cost?
The investment is almost a billion Czech crowns. It will take a few years before our station will be able to finance its own operation.
Who will pay, and from what funds (will Arca be enough)? Is it a long-term investment?
Arca Capital will finance our initial development - its funds will be a part of our company's basic capital. We will also use debt financing, but only on a limited basis. Arca Capital will make a five-year investment. Arca Capital invests its own funds equaling a few hundred million Czech crowns; therefore, we believe it’s a company with strong capital. We’re currently negotiating with co-investors who contacted us after our project was mentioned in the media and some of them kept contacting us even after the license was awarded ... In general, we can say our project is financially supported very well. Other potential investors won’t bring any lacking funds; they’ll contribute to risk diversification.
Mr. Fenič, why have you decided to enter the television world?
Well, I realized that the tradition of Febio’s production and the character of FEBIOFEST might merge right into television broadcasting. Another reason was the fact that Febio’s production, which has been quite successful on all three Czech stations for fourteen years, was gradually being offered very limited space on public television. Now this is true even for the two remaining commercial stations ... So, the creation of our own station is one of the very few ways to deliver Febio’s production to our viewers in the future (Febio has produced so far more than 1,000 programs, and the majority of them were quite successful – both the legendary “Česká soda” [Czech Soda], Gen portraits, or currently, “Cestománie” [Travelmania] ...). However, I have never planned or longed to have my own station; instead, I thought of returning to direct films. However, two years ago, in connection with the potential arrival of digital TV stations, my friends persuaded me that I could do much more for Czech audiovision and its viewers through a station than through just one movie. At that time, I gave it serious thought. I contacted Petr Sládeček, who is an old and good friend and I perceive him as a person whom I not only trust completely but also as a person with some of the most extensive experiences in building TV stations in our country. I started working with him on our first vision and gradually I came to the conclusion that it was another of my good life decisions...
What do you expect from the arrival of digital broadcasting?
The Czech people will finally get a larger, more interesting, and higher quality offer of television programs – comparable to the offers available in the majority of other EU countries.
Are you ready for a potential failure? Your colleague Petr Sládeček indicated in one of his TV programs that not all “new” stations necessarily succeed. What do you think are the chances of Febio TV, compared to other stations?
We’re ready for everything, but believe that won’t find ourselves in that situation. Yes, we generate very high expectations and that’s always risky – nevertheless, we will strive to fulfill them through our program as much as possible and to offer viewers an alternative to current stations. And that’s the chance I was talking about...